I love my Moroccan camel leather sandals. I bought a pair on my first trip to Morocco in 2006. Quickly they became my favorite go-to summer footwear. I wore them whenever the weather would allow and were a definite in my suitcase when we moved to Japan three years later.
Our apartment is typically Japanese and has a shoe cupboard at the entrance, a convenient place to put all your ‘outside’ shoes not to be worn inside the house. Our first winter here, we were surprised at the amount of condensation that built up on the inner side of our windows and the front door. It was to the point that we even bought a cool gadget (which I’ll have to introduce you to sometime) to remove the excess water everyday.
What I hadn’t accounted for was what this moisture might be doing to our shoes in the front closet. With the doors closed and the summer footwear not being touched over the cooler months, when the time did come for sandals again, I was devastated to see that my most favorite, goes with everything shoes had become moldy.
I scrubbed them with a brush with soap and water, dried them in the sun to try to kill the fungi, and repeated these steps several times. While I couldn’t see the mold anymore, I always felt a little weird about wearing them, like the spores were lurking somewhere beneath and would give me some kind of weird foot condition.
Luckily the opportunity arose to visit Morocco again last year. On my to-do list of course was to pick up a new pair of my beloved sandals. When traveling without a local language you suddenly start relying on your other communication skills: gestures, drawings…With a camel impression down, I had confirmed that this little souq (market) store had the camel leather I was seeking. Perhaps it would have made no difference if it were camel or cow or any other type of animal skin, but given the longevity of my previous camel purchase that outlasted any other leather shoes I have ever bought, I’m starting to think there might be something to this camel thing. In the end, I was able to pick up an identical pair in Casablanca for $9.
“Only one pair?” friends sometimes ask, knowing how often I wear them. While having decades worth of the things is tempting, I figure when these ones give way, that will be my prompt for my next adventure to this amazing country. My motto: travel light, live large and enjoy the purchases you do make along the way.